Gillies Mackinnon

Small Faces; Regeneration

UK

Voted in the directors’ poll

Voted for

2046

2004

Wong Kar Wai

Come And See

1985

Elem Klimov

Goodbye Solo

2008

Ramin Bahrani

I am Cuba

1964

Mikhail Kalatozov

Inland Empire

2006

David Lynch

Monster's Ball

2001

Marc Forster

Shoah

1985

Claude Lanzmann

Stalker

1979

Andrei Tarkovsky

strada, La

1954

Federico Fellini

Two Legged Horse

2009

Samira Makhmalbaf

Comments

Rather than fretting over the word ‘great’, I have chosen ten films which have stayed in my mind long after seeing them. With a great effort of will I have not included Bicycle Thieves, Wild Strawberries or Seven Samurai this time round

Stalker: It remains the most unsettling and haunting experience. I think Tarkovsky is a kind of hypnotist and what interests me most are the thoughts which slip into my mind when I am watching the film. Read ZONA by Geoff Dyer – an often-irreverent blow-by-blow account of the film which obsessed him for 30 years.

Come and See: I’ll never forget the opening, the children digging for guns, then the bombing of the forest. The young boy ageing before our eyes. The final two scenes make this the most moving war film ever.

Shoah: The most important historical film I have seen. Schindler’s List for grown ups.

Inland Empire: It’s like I woke up inside Lynch’s dream or unconscious mind. The mental freedom required to make a film like this!

Two Legged Horse: The best and most honest contemporary cinema I see is from Iran, and many of their filmmakers are in prison. This is a stunning, big human story: far bigger than its budget.

La Strada: Must mention at least one old classic. Anthony Quinn and Giulietta Masina are heart breaking.

2046: Chinese friends tell me this is no more than one big piece of confectionary. But I find it full of sadness and longing.

I Am Cuba: A visual feast by a Russian director in Cuba with Soviet propaganda woven in. You will see why Coppola and Scorsese were inspired.

Goodbye Solo: Must mention a fabulous American independent which not many have seen. Directed by an American of Iranian descent, with a brilliant performance from Souleymane Sy Savanet as an emigrant African taxi driver playing opposite former stuntman and Elvis Presley bodyguard Red West. This gem came out the blue for me.

Monster’s Ball: Another small American gem, scripted by Milo Addica. The day after seeing it I was effortlessly able to recite back whole scenes – fabulous dialogue and a great cast. Worth seeing for the late Heath Ledger’s performance alone.

Latest from the BFI

  • Latest from the BFI

    Latest news, features and opinion.

More information

Films, TV and people

  • Films, TV and people

    Film lists and highlights from BFI Player.

More information

Sight & Sound magazine

  • Sight & Sound magazine

    Reviews, interviews and features from the international film magazine.

More information

Back to the top